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JAMA Pediatr. 2017 Sep 1;171(9):847-854. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1474.

Screening Criteria for Ophthalmic Manifestations of Congenital Zika Virus Infection.

Author information

Departamento de Pesquisa Clinica, Instituto Nacional de Saúde da Mulher, da Criança e do Adolescente Fernandes Figueira-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, Los Angeles.
Departamento de Oftalmologia, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, Los Angeles.
Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences Department, University of California, San Francisco.
Departamento de Doenças Infecciosas, Instituto Nacional de Saúde da Mulher, da Criança e do Adolescente Fernandes Figueira-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Departamento de Oftalmologia, Universidade Unigranrio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Departamento de Oftalmologia, Hospital Federal dos Servidores do Estado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Laboratório de Doenças Febris Agudas, Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Current guidelines recommend screening eye examinations for infants with microcephaly or laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection but not for all infants potentially exposed to Zika virus in utero.


To evaluate eye findings in a cohort of infants whose mothers had polymerase chain reaction-confirmed Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

In this descriptive case series performed from January 2 through October 30, 2016, infants were examined from birth to 1 year of age by a multidisciplinary medical team, including a pediatric ophthalmologist, from Fernandes Figueira Institute, a Ministry of Health referral center for high-risk pregnancies and infectious diseases in children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Mother-infant pairs from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who presented with suspected Zika virus infection during pregnancy were referred to our institution and had serum, urine, amniotic fluid, or placenta samples tested by real-time polymerase chain reaction for Zika virus.

Main Outcomes and Measures:

Description of eye findings, presence of microcephaly or other central nervous system abnormalities, and timing of infection in infants with confirmed Zika virus during pregnancy. Eye abnormalities were correlated with central nervous system findings, microcephaly, and the timing of maternal infection.


Of the 112 with polymerase chain reaction-confirmed Zika virus infection in maternal specimens, 24 infants (21.4%) examined had eye abnormalities (median age at first eye examination, 31 days; range, 0-305 days). Ten infants (41.7%) with eye abnormalities did not have microcephaly, and 8 (33.3%) did not have any central nervous system findings. Fourteen infants with eye abnormalities (58.3%) were born to women infected in the first trimester, 8 (33.3%) in the second trimester, and 2 (8.3%) in the third trimester. Optic nerve and retinal abnormalities were the most frequent findings. Eye abnormalities were statistically associated with microcephaly (odds ratio [OR], 19.1; 95% CI, 6.0-61.0), other central nervous system abnormalities (OR, 4.3; 95% CI, 1.6-11.2), arthrogryposis (OR, 29.0; 95% CI, 3.3-255.8), and maternal trimester of infection (first trimester OR, 5.1; 95% CI, 1.9-13.2; second trimester OR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.2-1.2; and third trimester OR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1-1.2).

Conclusions and Relevance:

Eye abnormalities may be the only initial finding in congenital Zika virus infection. All infants with potential maternal Zika virus exposure at any time during pregnancy should undergo screening eye examinations regardless of the presence or absence of central nervous system abnormalities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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